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Michigan 13-Year-Old Hits Attempted Kidnapper with Slingshot, Saving His Sister

"I was just lucky. He’s just a big target because he’s not like one Pepsi can,” Owen Burns said.

By Cydney Contreras

A 13-year-old boy was quick to act when someone attempted to kidnap his 8-year-old sister outside their Michigan home.

Owen Burns was playing video games inside his family's Alpena Township home on May 10, when his sister said she was going outside to hunt for mushrooms, the teen told WWTV/WWUP-TV.

"I say, ‘Okay, be careful’, because I just don’t care because she’s out there and I’m not going to care because nothing bad happens. And then, boom, something happens," the teen told the outlet.

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Michigan State Police officer Lt. John Grimshaw told ABC affiliate WGTU that the suspect emerged from the woods and grabbed her from behind, prompting her to scream for help. Initially, Owen said, he thought she was just "messing around" with friends, but when she screamed a second time, he saw that she was fighting off an attacker.

"So I grab my slingshot and open the window and I grab two things a marble and a gravel rock or something,” said Owen. 

Twice he struck his target, a 17-year-old who was later found hiding in the bathroom at a nearby gas station by state troopers. Officers were able to identify the suspect by his "obvious signs of injury," according to WGTU.

The 17-year-old, whose name has not been released, was arrested and booked as an adult. He was arraigned Thursday on one count each of attempted kidnapping/child enticement, attempted assault to do great bodily harm less than murder, and assault and battery, WGTU reported. His bail was set at $150,000.

"I was just lucky. He’s just a big target because he’s not like one Pepsi can," Owen said of his actions.

Police are praising the 13-year-old for his quick-thinking. "It was disbelief that a young man could successfully shoot a person twice with a slingshot and their sister was able to get away,” Lt. Derrick Carroll told WWTV.

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After the assailant fled, Owen and his sister called their mother, Margaret Burns, to inform her of what happened. "They were in a state of panic and screaming and she was crying and the only word I could make out of the whole conversation was kidnap," she told WGTU.

Burns' parents said they're proud of Owen and relieved that his sister was safe. "I was just happy we were able to celebrate our daughter’s 8th birthday that following Saturday, rather than a funeral,” said Margaret.

Margaret shared that their daughter is still traumatized from the incident but is feeling better now that time has passed. 

"She’s doing okay. Seems like she’s bouncing back. I don’t think she fully processed the whole thing and what’s happened. She just wants to forget," Margaret told WWTV.

The family is also processing that fact that their daughter was nearly taken from them in their own backyard. Owen's dad, Andrew Burns, told Good Morning America, "Once it all set in, it kind of hit pretty hard. ... Because it could have been a whole different outcome."

Owen added in his interview with WWTV, "If I wasn’t out there and I didn’t hear her scream, then she was gone. Not here. I’ll probably not forgive myself for a thousand years until my death."

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